Growing levels of racism concern rights commission

The South African Human Rights Commission expressed concern about growing levels of racism in its Freedom Day message on Wednesday.

“The commission is concerned about the growing levels of intolerant and racist discourse that seem to have crept into our dialogue and conversations,” spokesperson Vincent Moaga said in a statement.

“This is evidenced in various Equality Court complaints.”

He was referring to the hate speech trial of African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema for his singing of struggle song Ayesaba Amagwala (The Cowards are Scared), containing the lyrics “dubul’ ibhunu”, or “shoot the boer”.

Over the last two weeks the words “dubul’ ibhunu” and their symbolic, literal and historic meaning were scrutinised by witnesses from TAU-SA and AfriForum, who brought the case against Malema, and the ANC.

Difficult time
Moaga said this year’s Freedom Day celebrations came at a painful and difficult time.

He was referring to Andries Tatane, who was allegedly killed at the hands of police in Ficksburg on April 13 during a protest.

Many of the protests in South Africa in recent years relate to service delivery issues and wage disparities.

“As is common cause in a society where the levels of social injustice and inequality are high, competition over scarce resources often manifests itself through intolerance.

“As a result, a society becomes more polarised and this [halts] meaningful attempts at social cohesion and national unity.”

The commission has cautioned citizens that freedom of expression has limitations and comes with responsibilities.—Sapa

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